Penticton Dredge Shed - Penticton, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 49° 30.094 W 119° 36.705
11U E 310905 N 5486493
Restored and preserved by the S.S. Sicamous Heritage Society, the old Dredge Shed, built in 1933, now serves the society as workshop space for restoration work done by them.
Waymark Code: WMQ53P
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 12/21/2015
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Dunbar Loop
Views: 4

The Dredge Shed

There is a large white building in one corner of the Heritage Park that has been named “The Dredge Shed”. This sits at the mouth of where the Penticton River used to run before the construction of the river channel.

This 1930s structure was built to house the infrastructure of the Dominion Governments Dredge and Pile driving operations. Here a small vessel with a working barge and dredge were housed. Their job was to maintain the navigable waters of Skaha Lake, (Dog Lake in the early years) Okanagan River, dredging shoals and sandbars, and driving piles to prevent boat wash on the switchbacks of the riverbank. The pile driver and dredge also maintained the government’s docks, and dredged the boat landings to accommodate the vessels as required.

The Dredge Shed is now a workshop for restoration activities of the SS Sicamous Heritage Society.
From the S.S. Sicamous Heritage Society
Dredge Shed

The Okanagan River once flowed past this building. Dredge boats would be tied up outside. These boats dredged the shoals and switchbacks of the winding Okanagan River, so that other vessels could travel safely. The Penticton River Channel was finished in 1953, and this area has been dry ever since.
From the S.S. Sicamous Heritage Society Plaque
Penticton Dredge Shed

The dredge shed is a large timber storage building located west of Lakeshore Drive near the mouth of the Okanagan River in Penticton.
The dredge shed’s value lies in the role it played in the development of water transportation on the Okanagan River and Okanagan Lake. Constructed in 1933, the dredge shed is a 20 foot by 50 foot building which housed Dominion Coast Guard tools and equipment required to maintain navigable depths on Okanagan River between Okanagan and Skaha Lakes, and to build breakwaters and to dredge dock sites inundated with sediment from Penticton Creek along the Penticton waterfront for navigation purposes.

Dredging in Okanagan River had commenced in 1908 when the Dominion Government placed Joe McDonald in charge of operating a swing-boom to dredge the channel, and to place brush along the banks and drive piles to prevent erosion. Passenger and freight service between Penticton and Kaleden started in 1912 with the vessel Mallard, under the guidance of A. S. Hatfield, but navigation on the river portion between Skaha Lake and Okanagan Lake was not terribly successful, and several years later a control dam was constructed at the mouth of Okanagan River on Okanagan Lake and any attempts at commercial navigation ceased. However, dredging continued as a flood control measure, to keep water flowing in the channel and off land adjacent to the river channel, yet this also signaled the early stages of controlling water levels throughout the Okanagan Basin.

The dredge shed was situated so that vessels could be loaded from the north side and land access could be achieved on the east side. In this manner fuel, provisions, and tools were loaded onto the dredges and other vessels used by the Dominion Government on the lake and river. The double doors on the second level of the north side provided access to the shed for materials to be moved by the boom on the dredge.

The dredge shed is valued as an important industrial structure which served the south Okanagan from the 1930’ s to the 1950’s. Its simple vernacular design speaks to its functionality. This is evident in its rugged construction of large timbers, broad low-pitched roof with wide overhang, cladding of wide dropped, solid loading docks, and large loading doors.

- The location near Okanagan lake and adjacent to the mouth of the Okanagan River
- The industrial vernacular style of the building with its massing and simple design
- The use of large timbers and wide boards
- The massive roof with wide overhangs
- The large loading doors
From the Penticton Heritage Register
Type of Marker: Cultural

Type of Sign: Historic Site or Building Marker

Describe the parking that is available nearby: Street parking and parking lots nearby

What Agency placed the marker?: S.S. Sicamous Heritage Society

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